The Hocking Valley Model Railroad Club was organized in October of 1972. It began as an informal group of interested model railroaders, meeting each month in a member’s home to share photographs , discuss the history, and improve modeling techniques that reflected the look and operation of the railroads. Of this original group, two members are still active in the present club.
Hocking Valley Model RR Club
The first club layout was started in 1973 when a room was rented in the basement of the old Fairfield Federal Savings and Loan building at 112 East Main St. in downtown Lancaster, Ohio. The club had grown to about twenty members by this time. Three layouts were started at the same time in this new location. An “O” gauge switching layout was located along one wall, a Lionel layout was located in a small room at another corner, and the “HO” layout was to be located in the center part of the main room. Steady progress was made on all three layouts. The group was now meeting every Tuesday.
The building in which the club was meeting and designing layouts was sold in January of 1977. The new owners began by raising the rent. The cost of renting the space jumped from $40.00 a month to $75.00 a month. A lot of discussion followed and it was decided that we could not afford this new amount of rent. The Club Vacated the building in February of 1977.
All the club layout material was stored temporarily in a barn for a few years while the group continued with informal home meetings. In 1984, two rooms were rented on the third floor of the Shaw Building across from the Post Office on South Broad St. A new layout was started, and by August of 1986 the club’s first open house was held during the Zane Square Festival. One room contained a small “HO” layout and the other room was used for meetings. The meeting room was not included in the rent and when the landlord had a renter for it we were in great difficulty. Again, a search began for a new location.
The building in which the club is presently located sits behind the the county’s Clarence Miller Center across from the Lancaster Ohio University Branch on Route 37. Planning for a new layout was begun right away. The members decided to design the layout based on a real
railroad which ran through Lancaster and Athens, Ohio called the Hocking Valley Railroad. Towns on the layout would include Lancaster with various industries, Enterprise with coal mines that dominated that area, Haydenville, Logan, and Athens.
The time modeled is from the late 1940’s to the 1960’s even though the real Hocking Valley Railroad had been absorbed into the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad during the early 1930’s. The original layout has had a lot of changes since first being designed with added industries and sidings. The model railroad is operated with a card system which directs each train engineer to place freight cars at different industries after receiving permission from the dispatcher. During an open house the layout operates using two loops for public viewing.
The latest addition to the club is an N-scale module layout in the basement. N-scale is about half the scale of an HO model. The new N-Scale layout represents the present day Indiana and Ohio Railroad that uses much of the same trackage that was part of original Hocking Valley
Anyone is welcome to join the Hocking Valley Model Railroaders. You may become a regular member by paying a dues of $50.00 per year. The dues are collected each year in January. It is possible to pay the dues in installments. A student membership is available at $30.00 a year. A non-voting sustaining membership is $15.00 a year. Operating trains by invitation is a condition of the sustaining membership. Social nights are held once a month during the fall, winter, and spring. The meetings are held every Tuesday at 7PM throughout the year except holidays. Operating nights are held on the first Tuesday of the month and the public is welcome.